KARASUBAZAR (from 1945 Belogorsk), city in Crimea oblast, Ukraine, the main community of the Crimean Jews (Krimchaks). In 1595, Selameth-Girey Khan granted the Jews of Karasubazar a privilege according them far-reaching concessions with regard to taxes and customs duties. This privilege was confirmed many times by the succeeding khans (for the last time in 1728). A collection of ancient Sifrei Torah and manuscripts was removed from the Karasubazar synagogue in 1839 by Abraham *Firkovich without the consent of the community; he later handed them over to the Imperial Library in St. Petersburg. From 1,969 in 1847 the number of Jews in the town increased to 3,144 by 1897 (total population 13,000), the overwhelming majority of them Krimchaks, who spoke the Tatar language among themselves and prayed according to the Crimean rite (minhag Kaffa). There were also 47 Karaites living in the town. From 1866 to 1899 R. Ḥayyim Hezekiah *Medini, chief rabbi of the Crimean Jews, had his seat in Karasubazar. He was able to use his considerable influence to raise the religious and spiritual standards of his communities. The Jews of Karasubazar engaged in crafts, market gardening, and petty trade. During the Civil War, the community decreased in numbers as a result of famine and disease. In 1939 the number of Jews dropped to 429. In 1932 there were in the environs three Jewish farm settlements with 149 families. The Germans occupied Karasubazar on November 1, 1941. On December 10 they killed 76 Jews, and on January 17, 1942, using mobile vans, they gassed 468 Krinchak Jews from the town and surrounding settlements. The few remaining Jews (probably needed artisans) were shot later.
A. Harkavy, Altjuedische Denkmaeler aus der Krim (1876); A. Harkavy and H.L. Strack, Catalog der hebraeischen Bibelhandschriften der… Bibliothek in St. Petersburg (1866); V.D. Smirnov, Krymskoye khanstvo pod verkhovenstvom Ottomanskoy Porty (1897); Zapiski Odesskago obschestva istorii i drevnosti, 14 (1866), 103; Regesty i nodpisi, 1 (1899), 397; 2 (1899), 93; O. Lerner, Yevrei vNovorossiskom kraye (1901), 141–7.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.